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* Phase 3 Research

During the summer of 1996 we all began, independently, to look at the play

itself from various angles. I was particularly interested in Beckett himself. At this

writing there are some 4 major biographies of Samuel Beckett. Three of these have

been published in the last year. At the time that I began my investigation of him in

1996 I had access to only one: SAMUEL BECKETT by Deirdre Bair. This became a

major source of both information and inspiration for me.

Deirdre Bair's tome is a book of some controversy amongst many Beckett

scholars. There is a feeling that Bair draws irresponsible conclusions about the

connection between Beckett's life and his works. I was aware of this contention and

so was willing to take much of the book with a grain of salt. However, the general

outline of Beckett's biography, and the relevance of his life to the text of ENDGAME

are both clear and indisputable.

Samuel Beckett was born in Ireland in 1906. His family was both relatively

well to do and fairly eccentric. Athletic and imposing, Beckett was also awkward

and socially maladjusted. His father died when he was twenty seven and his

relationship with his mother was difficult. The strain of dealing with his Mother

and later, his conflicted feelings regarding his homeland Ireland, often resulted in

illnesses and particularly painful boils.

The strains and brutality in a parent-child relationship as well as the link

between such existential pain and physical disability and pain are landscapes which

Beckett cut his teeth on. This all comes to play in ENDGAME where we see the

twisted remains of two couples, interacting with a brutal vocabulary. Beckett's early

life is particularly linked to the exchanges between Naggand Hamm; ostensibly a